French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned that France is facing the “most severe drought” ever recorded in the country and announced the activation of a government crisis unit.
Borne said in a written statement on Friday that many areas in France are going through a “historic situation” as the country endures its third heatwave this summer.
“The exceptional drought we are currently experiencing is depriving many municipalities of water and is a tragedy for our farmers, our ecosystems and biodiversity,” the statement said.
Weather forecasts suggest that the heat, which increases evaporation and water needs, could continue for the next 15 days, possibly making the situation even more worrying, the statement stressed.
The government’s crisis unit will be in charge of monitoring the situation in the hardest-hit areas and coordinate measures like bringing drinking water to some places.
It will also monitor the impact of the drought on France’s energy production, transport infrastructure and agriculture.
The drought may force French energy giant EDF to cut power production at nuclear plants which use river water to cool reactors.
France now has 62 regions with restrictions on water usage due to the lack of rain.
The minister for ecological transition, Christophe Béchu, said during a visit to southeastern France that more than 100 municipalities are not able to provide drinking water to the tap anymore and need to get supplied by truck.
“The worst the situation is, the more we make drinking water the priority compared to other usages," he said.